outdoor recreation

Bente Birkeland / RMCR

Colorado is well known for its outdoor recreation offerings, but Governor John Hickenlooper wants to take it to the next level by making it even easier for people to access open space and parks. Over the summer he unveiled the Colorado the Beautiful Initiative and more recently a $100 million pledge to create and connect bike trails. 

Tom Koerner/USFWS / Creative Commons

The U.S. Department of Interior decided on Tuesday that the greater sage grouse does not need protection under the Endangered Species Act. The bird spans eleven western states including Colorado, where it lives in pockets along the western slope.  The population is mostly concentrated in the northwest part of the state. Governor John Hickenlooper was one of the many people working to avoid a federal listing for the bird.  He sat down with statehouse reporter Bente Birkeland to talk about the decision and other initiatives.

Interview Highlights

Tuesday Newscast, 9/22/15, 6:04 PM

Sep 22, 2015

Newscast for Tuesday, September 22, 2015, 6:04 PM:

Greg Owens / National Park Service

The Black Canyon of the Gunnison just became Colorado’s first International Dark Sky certified National Park, and the ninth in the nation. The Western Slope park was recognized for its exceptional night sky views, as well as its efforts to preserve those views and educate people about the value of a dark night sky.

Ranger Nick Myers leads the astronomy program at the park. He says they’ve worked to reduce bright lights that can drown out the stars.

Friday Newscast, 8/14/15, 5:32 PM

Aug 14, 2015

Newscast for Friday, 8/14/15, 5:32 PM:

  • Officials in Colorado have reopened the Animas River to boating.
  • A lieutenant colonel at Fort Carson faces a court-martial on charges of viewing child pornography on a government computer while in Afghanistan.
  • A recent report from Colorado State University says if Great Plains farmers adopt more conservation practices, their carbon emissions could be drastically reduced.

More campsites, restrooms, and parking areas could come to the Shelf Road Climbing Area near Canon City under a new proposal.

The Bureau of Land Management estimates the area sees 42,000 more visitors yearly than when the two campgrounds were originally constructed in the mid-90's.

The BLM's Kalem Lenard says they've been receiving complaints about not enough facilities. He also says lack of parking space is becoming an issue.

High winds have caused the closure of some recreational areas on National Forest land in Douglas County.

The Devils Head Fire Tower, campground, trailhead, and picnic area were closed after a blowdown occurred in the South Platte Ranger District of Pike National Forest.

The historic fire Tower is the only original Front Range lookout tower still in use today.

The damaged area covers around six acres of aspen, spruce, and Douglas-fir trees. Crews are assessing damages and working to remove fallen trees and dangerous snags from the area.

Bob Wick, BLM California / BLM Flickr / Creative Commons

A last-minute change to an indoor venue due to stormy weather couldn't keep folks away from a dedication ceremony Saturday for Colorado's newest National Monument.  Supporters gathered in bleachers at the Buena Vista High School gym to hear from local, state, and federal officials as they celebrated the designation.

The nearly 22,000-acres of public land that stretches from Buena Vista to Salida in Chaffee County along the Arkansas River is well known for its recreation and wildlife. 

Record-breaking rains leading to high water levels have prompted Colorado Parks and Wildlife to restrict access in some recreational areas. 

Boat ramps, shoreline access points and parking areas are limited at Lake Pueblo State Park. The department isn’t sure when they’ll reopen.

Near Lake George, the South Platte River is running usually high, resulting in the closure of Spinney Mountain State Park’s river access lot. The department is discouraging fishing along many areas of the river.

The City of Colorado Springs is looking at the future of Shooks Run, a corridor located east of downtown between Fountain Creek and Patty Jewett Golf Course. 

The first of several public workshops takes place on Thursday, kicking off a 16-month collaborative planning process called Envision Shooks Run. 

The project will create a plan to address issues like drainage, multi-modal transportation, and urban planning to help improve infrastructure and enhance the corridor.

A series of workshops this month looks to discuss the future of bicycling in Colorado Springs.  KRCC’s Dana Cronin reports.

The forums will help update the Colorado Springs Bike Master Plan, which lays out a ten-year strategy for the improvement of bicycling conditions in the city.

Brian Shevock is the Bicycle Coordinator for the city. He says his biggest challenge is the spread out nature of Colorado Springs.

Bob Wick, BLM California / BLM Flickr / Creative Commons

Browns Canyon in Chaffee County will be designated a National Monument by President Obama on Thursday. 

Conservationists, community leaders and businesses are praising the move, which comes after years of work to secure the designation.  It covers a 22,000-acre stretch of public land along the Arkansas River between Buena Vista and Salida known for recreational opportunities. 

Keith Baker heads the non-profit group Friends of Browns Canyon.

Andrea Chalfin / KRCC

The Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area, or AHRA, is celebrating its 25th Anniversary today. The region spans 152 miles of the Arkansas River and saw over 711,000 visitors last year.

AHRA program assistant Rose Bayless says in its 25 years, the area has provided an outlet for outdoor recreation that the public didn’t have before, including boating and fishing.

Andrea Chalfin / KRCC

The Manitou Incline will close in mid August for trail maintenance. As KRCC’s Tucker Hampson reports, the heavily traveled path is showing the effects of use and Mother Nature.

The work will include repairing damaged retaining walls, unclogging culverts, and rerouting the connecting trail between the Incline and the Barr Trail.

Sarah Bryarly is a landscape architect for the City of Colorado Springs Parks Department and the Project Manager for the Incline reconstruction. She says the repairs are focused on protecting the incline from runoff.

Parks Master Planning Underway in Colorado Springs

Apr 29, 2014
Michelle Mercer / KRCC

Approximately every ten years, Colorado Springs undertakes a Master Planning process for the parks system. As KRCC’s Michelle Mercer reports, this time around, the economic downturn and recent natural disasters are affecting the planning process.

Kate Dunn

People come from far and wide to hike the Manitou Incline, especially now that it’s legal.  Rain, shine, or even snow, everyone who makes the trek has his or her own motivation.  Along with her friend Mariel Dempster, KRCC’s Kate Dunn made the journey during the cold and snowy weather we recently had in the Pikes Peak region, and brought back this audio postcard.

The Incline daily record holder, Greg Cummings, was known for making the trek 601 times in a year. 

The Shoshone Power Plant: "A Big Dog on the River"

Dec 9, 2013
Maeve Conran

A complex series of agreements govern the distribution of water throughout the state.  Along the Colorado River, farms, cities & towns, and the recreation industry are all big players.  But everyone takes a backseat to a tiny hydroelectric plant that’s over one hundred years old.  It’s the Shoshone Generating Station, and it plays a critical role on the Upper Colorado.

The Colorado Parks and Wildlife commission talked drones at their meeting last week in Lamar. As KRCC’s Maggie Spencer reports, any potential vote won’t happen until next year.

The Commission is looking ahead with regards to the use of drones in hunting. Spokesman Randy Hampton says they’ve not seen it in the field yet, but the commission is looking to implement proactive regulation.

The use of drones to help hunt wildlife may soon be illegal.  KRCC’s Eliza Densmore reports.

The use of unmanned aerial vehicles to help locate and kill game is not regulated, but the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission is expected to take up the issue before the practice becomes popular.

Director of the Colorado Outfitters Association Dick Ray says he sees the possible move as proactive and that drones take away from the true purpose of hunting.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife has released 60 new trail maps that now highlight new trail uses and features. KRCC’s Maggie Spencer has more.

The new trail maps integrate more information than the earlier versions and are now online.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife spokesman Randy Hampton says the maps’ compatibility to GPS make them more helpful to trail users.